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Nor let any one think that gross iniquities only shall be noticed in that day; for God will “manifest even the counsels of men's hearts,” and “bring every secret thing into judgmentp:" then a forgetfulness of God, or a rejection of his Gospel, shall as surely be punished with everlasting destruction, as any of those sins which are more reprobated and condemned by the world9.]
The warning being of such universal and infinite importance, let us consider, II. The advice accompanying it
, [The exhortation in the text may simply import, that we should retire to our chambers to commune with our own hearts, and with our God". In this view it recommends the duty, the indispensably necessary duty of secret prayer.
But by “chambers” we may understand God himself, who is often spoken of in this lights, and who is the sure refuge of all that flee unto him. Every perfection of his forms, as it were, a hiding-place whereto we may run for safety. His wisdom would be our guide, his power our defence, “his faithfulness and truth our shield and buckler."
To us, who are taught to view God in the person of Christ, the word “ chambers” may convey a more immediate intimation respecting Christ himself, who is our refuge, and whom this very prophet describes as “an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the stormu." His person, work, and offices are a security to his people, that “they shall never perish, but shall have eternal life.
To him therefore we should flee by faith, and hide ourselves from the impending judgments. As Noah entered into the ark“, which was the appointed mean of delivering him from the deluge, and as the Israelites shut themselves up in their houses to escape the sword of the destroying angely, so are we to take refuge, as it were, in Christ, that the sword of divine justice may not slay, or the deluge of God's wrath overwhelm us.]
While we listen to the voice of God, we must not overlook, III. The particular manner in which the advice is
[Almost every word of this exhortation contains an argument for our compliance with it.
P 1 Cor. iv. 5.
q Ps. ix. 17. 2 Thess. i. 7, 8.
If we were bidden to hide ourselves in a pit or a dungeon, methinks, any place should be a welcome hiding-place from the wrath of God. But it is to our own chamber," where every thing is provided for our rest and comfort; yea, it is a pavilion, surrounded by guards, and furnished with royal dainties; it is even to the tabernacle a wherein God himself dwells, and where we shall have most intimate communion with him, that we are told to flee. Shall we need any inducement to yield to such advice?
If we cannot endure confinement (though surely we can have no reason to complain of that in such a retreat) we are told it is to be only for a moment,” yea, lest that should appear too long, it is said to be only for a little moment." Did the Israelites think a single night too long, when they were to be screened from the destroying angel? and shall we think a moment, a little moment (for such in truth is the present life), too long to abide in Christ, that we may escape the wrath of an incensed God?
The certainty of success is another argument which may well induce us to follow this advice. Were there only a distant probability of obtaining deliverance from such unspeakable miseries, it were a very sufficient reason for our trying the experiment: but when success, as the text intimates, is certain to attend our efforts, shall we need any persuasion to exert ourselves?
On the other hand, the certainty that God's indignation must fall upon us, if we be not found in Christ, ought to operate powerfully on our hearts : for “ who can stand before his indignation? who can abide the fierceness of his angerb?" The fate of those who despised the warnings of Moses, and sought not shelter from the storms of hail, shews us what we must expect, if we seek not refuge in Christ Jesus.
Above all, the earnestness of the exhortation should overcome the reluctance of our hearts. To enter fully into its spirit, we should conceive a parent, seeing a savage beast running towards his heedless and unprotected child in order to destroy him. The affrighted father calls to him in the agony of his mind; “ Come, my son, run into the house, shut the door, hide yourself till the danger be overpast.” Thus, precisely thus, does God himself cry to each of us. He knows our danger; he sees our inadvertence; and, with all the anxiety of a parent, he calls to us. Must we not be more deaf than adders, more obdurate than rocks, if we will not obey his voice?
But there is one thing yet, which must on no account be overlooked. The language is intentionally changed from the plural to the singular ; " Come, my people, enter thou,” &c. One is ready to think, that he has no need to fear the indignation of God: another thinks he is too unworthy to be admitted into the chamber to which others have fled. But God addresses both the one and the other of them; “Enter thou;" for, however secure thou mayest think thyself, there is no security but in Christ; and “thou ;” for unworthy as thou art, it is "thy” chamber; it was erected for such as thee; and the more unworthy thou art in thy own estimation, the more ready admittance shalt thou find there; the more certainly also shalt thou enjoy in it everlasting security".
2 Ps. xxvii. 5.
a Ps. xxvii. 5.
Thus whether we consider the chamber to which we are to flee, the time we are to abide in it, the certainty of success, the danger of delay, or the earnest manner in which God addresses every one of us in particular, we should without hesitation follow the advice, and scek deliverance in Christ our Lord. None of us should indulge security ; none of us should give way to desponding fears. But, rejoicing that the chamber is not yet barred against us, we should all hide ourselves in it; nor venture out of it one single moment, till the danger be for ever past.]
a This section might not improperly form the basis of a particular application to the self-righteous Pharisee, and the self-condemning penitent.
END OF VOL. VII.
LONDON :-R. CLAY, PRINTER, BREAD-STREET-HILL.